Grief Is Love

both11“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson

There are many skeptics who discount the feelings of non-human animals.  I have been doing research for a book I am writing about animals and in doing so I came across an article in the Smithsonian where a story is relayed about an orca, Tahlequah, who carried her dead calf through icy water for 17 days before dropping it.  The story ended with these words: “The question is not “Do animals grieve?” but “How do animals grieve?”

As you may be aware, my almost 20-year-old cat, Tazzie, passed away Monday morning.  This has left such a huge hole in my heart with her physical absence, although I know her spirit is still right beside me.  What I am observing now first-hand is the grief that my other cat, Gizmo, is exhibiting.  He will be 19 in a couple of months and he has only known a world where Taz was there every day of his life.  He has always been such a rambunctious cat, very vocal and extremely active.  He is now very obviously depressed, crying, and has thrown up twice today.  He has eaten very little, which is unusual for him. He has searched the entire apartment looking for her, especially her hiding places where she would go for peace and quiet. He looks out the windows to see if she is outside. He will not leave my side. We are grieving her together, comforting each other. I know it is confusing for him and I am doing my best to give him as much attention as possible while dealing with my own grief and other health issues. Gizmo is a very intuitive cat and I know he understands that I am not in a good place emotionally right now.  I’m facing some huge decisions about my health and he keeps snuggling beside me, telling me it will be okay.  I’m trusting you to know that buddy.  We will get through this together but it may take awhile for us both.

My friend Karen is my co-author for our book, A Time For Animals Love Revolution.  She has helped me over the last couple of days with words of comfort including the phrase “grief is love.”  There are no rules to grief just as there are no rules to love.  It just is and it is different for each one of us.  There is no pattern to follow, no set timeframe to work through.  I’m learning to be gentle with myself and allowing the tears to flow with no judgement.  I’m learning that it is okay to let others see me cry. I’m learning that my grief is changing me every day, making me stronger as I focus on why I am grieving.  It is because I loved so deeply and I would not trade that for anything. I loved my little girl with my whole heart and received even more love back from her. She gave me the most precious gift I could ever receive by allowing me to spend her dying moments with her to feel her last heartbeat and hear her last breath. She died hearing the words “I love you” coming from me, her constant companion for her whole lifetime.

So as scientists keep trying to figure out if and how animals grieve, I’m living with a grieving one and he is teaching me so much about how very deeply he feels the loss of his precious sister. If you believe in prayer and a higher power, we could use all of those we can get right now.

 

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/do-animals-experience-grief-180970124/#o0VGdmhGMFd1QWX2.99

Never Quit

sailboat-at-sunset-46572“If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit!” Michael Jordan

One of the most successful sports figures of all time gives this sage advice that we can all use.  I have quit many times in many different areas of my life.  Every time I gave up on a dream or goal, there was a sense of something dissipating from my spirit.  I choose not to call those failures but rather redirections.  I have learned many lessons in this lifetime through these changes in direction.  I ran from some problems, trying to erase them from memory thinking that would erase them fully; but it just does not work that way.  Whether we acknowledge our experiences or not, they are part of who we are.  The only way to learn from our lessons is to embrace them, whether pleasant or unpleasant.  Many times there is so much more to learn from the valleys than from the hilltop.

I have refrained from asking why these current health problems are happening.  I did that in the past – dwelled on playing the victim only to go into rage and eventually depression which only added to the problem.  As much as I dislike when I hear someone say “it is what it is” that is the only way I can look at this now.  It is here and I have to make a choice of how I respond to it.  Yes, there is anger but not rage.  I am letting the anger motivate me, to propel me forward to a solution instead of dwelling on what is happening.  I do not choose to see myself as a victim but rather a student of life.   I am learning strength and resiliency and to never quit.  Whatever comes my way, I will not give up.  I will not go gently into that good night as one poet so eloquently shared.  I choose health, love, peace, joy, happiness for myself.  I know many people are sending healing energy my way.  Quan Yin teaches that love is what heals.  I accept and receive with gratitude all the love sent my way and fully believe I am healed.  For the last year I have been learning the best way to take care of my physical body with nutrition and I know this is helping me to heal even faster.  Today I received word from my doctor that my lab work was amazing and I only need to take one supplement for a vitamin D deficiency (and I live in the Sunshine state, LOL).

The journey this lifetime is strange in so many ways.  I have come to accept the uniqueness of it and embrace the wonder of me that fits into the big puzzle that is all of us.  We are all in this together.  We are all one. I have learned that when one hurts, we all hurt.  The level of compassion shown during this time is overwhelming. Some ask what they can do, others just do and then tell me about it (thanks Audi).  I have people at my side for doctor appointments and plans to be with me for upcoming surgeries, even taking time off work to do so!  My hand is being held all along this journey and I am so very grateful to not be facing it alone.  Many have contributed to help ease the financial burden as well and this is so greatly appreciated.  When I express gratitude, the response is “of course, you are family!”  So to those who are there holding me up through this, I love you and there are no words to express my deep gratitude – I offer only these four words “I will never quit.”

If you would like to donate to help with medical expenses, you can give through PayPal at paypal.me/angelspeakers  or Go Fund Me here

Self-Reflection On A Rainy Day

macro shot photography of water drops

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

What happens when we are unable to meet someone else’s expectations of us? The idea of unconditional love is wonderful but perhaps as humans we are not capable of this. Do we always hold expectations about those in our lives? Do we then judge others if those expectations are not met? It makes me stop and ponder if I do this as well. If someone chooses to include me in their life, I feel honored. I really do not ask anything from them other than friendship and sharing time together. However, when I look at those people that I have distanced myself from I wonder if it was something I judged in them as not meeting my expectations. There are times when I feel like just shutting off from the world, just going into a cave with no human interaction. This feels safer actually than allowing the vulnerability and potential hurt that can come from being judged by others. Hurt, pain, sadness is a part of this human experience. At those low moments we take a deeper look at ourselves and sometimes ask where we failed. However, it isn’t always us that failed. Perhaps we did not meet an expectation that we didn’t even know was there.  Sometimes the one holding the expectation does not even realize that the resources are not available to be able to meet those expectations. Things like pride can get in the way of letting others know that perhaps we are financially unable or otherwise incapable to do certain things. This can lead to the feeling of being “less than” and not enough. Confidence can be shaken and self-doubt take over. In a perfect world we are all the same, all equal. However, this is far from a perfect world. Competition and comparison run rampant. It is often said (and even by myself) that we are mirrors of each other. I’m not sure I believe that anymore. I’m still digging for the answer although the hurt makes the glass a little cloudy, but I am holding onto faith and believe that with time (and some window cleaner) it will become clearer.

Sojourn Into Transformation

spiritimageI have reached the end of my sojourn that was a month-long process for me.  I have visited family and friends, met many new friends and have been able to give real hugs to some friends who were only virtual friends before this trip.  I have seen snow and beautiful countryside scenery and then entered into one of the most peaceful serene places on earth and immersed myself in its healing energy.  I am not returning home as the same person I was when I left.  So much has changed that it would be impossible to put it into words.  It’s the is-ness experience to the fullest degree possible.  “Is-ness” is living in the Now moment; choosing to surrender completely to what is happening. I consciously made it mine, allowing the unfolding of the event to be whatever it would “be” without the burden of my expectations.  This does not mean that I had no desire concerning the outcome of the experience but my desire took a backseat to the flow of energy that happened with the experience.  With every experience that happened on this journey, I allowed it without attachment to the outcome.  I said “yes” to the is-ness.  I let go of personal attachments easily and without regrets.  It takes great courage to do this, to step out of your comfort zone; yet, I do not feel courageous.  I feel empowered, spiritually expanded and physically renewed.

I feel I can now say yes to whatever is out there for me to experience. I have experienced being open to the flow of the “is-ness” and choosing to do so has transformed my entire life.  This experience was made possible because of one person who believed in me, who wanted only the best possible outcome for my experience.  Her love and support was given without personal agenda but rather with compassion and in response to urgings from her higher self and spirit guides.  Many thanks to my dear friend Jeryl Anne.  I know we have a lot of work to do together and I am super-excited for that!

How do I thank you for all you have done

For loving me unconditionally

For believing in me fully

How do I thank you for sharing life’s adventures with me?

 

Simply by loving me loving you  – unconditionally

 

Your Word

quotes-You-can-make-a-diffeClose your eyes.  Relax into whatever comes to you after the darkness.  Wait in anticipation as if you were waiting for the beginning of a movie at the theater.  Do you see the curtains opening?  Do you hold an expectation of what image might show up or will you be pleasantly surprised?  Wait for it.  With your eyes closed and body relaxed, now you are ready.  What is that word you hear?  Follow it.  Go into the sound of it, the way it is said, the possible meanings.  When you shut out all other stimuli and let yourself receive, you enter a place where you can be you.  Who are you?  Let the word answer the question.  Follow the sound, see the word written in front of you.  Look at how it is written.  Go to it and touch it, smell it, get to know it.  This word that comes to you is your creation.  Get to know it intimately.  Did the darkness disappear as the word came into focus?  Did your word light up that dark space you entered when you closed your eyes?  This is how powerful you are, dear ones.  You are creators.  You have within you the means to bring light where there is none.  You can bring joy into sad hearts.  You can make a difference if you only close your eyes and find your way out of the darkness.

152950274I am so grateful for this day!  I feel “seen” by God.  I know the angels are surrounding me. I am loved.  I am that — I am!  I am the sound of a thousand songbirds.  I am the rush of a million waves in the ocean.  I am the quiet snow on the mountaintop.  I am the breeze brushing against my face.  I am the children’s laughter coming from the playground.  I am the words written on this page. I am peace.  I am LOVE.  I am joy.  I am that!

The Gift of Life

kidneydonationpicJuly 6, 1975 was my last dialysis treatment of what was a hellish 8 months of undergoing 5-hour per day 3 times a week treatments.  My kidneys had failed in November the prior year, landing me in the hospital for the entire month.  I remember those days like it was yesterday.  I had gone on vacation in October to visit my family in Kentucky before my baby was due as I was only 6 months along.  I didn’t get to see them very often because I was so far away, having moved to Florida 2 years earlier.  When I got back from vacation, I went from looking like I was 6 months pregnant to what appeared to be a 9-month pregnancy.  I felt okay except for what I assumed were normal pregnancy issues – swollen feet, tiredness, etc.  I say assumed because it was my first time pregnant.  I was scheduled to see my Ob/Gyn when I got back and he was alarmed at the change in size of my belly and told me he wanted to run some tests, so he sent me to the hospital to do so.  It would be 30 days before I saw the outside of that hospital due to what was diagnosed as “acute renal failure.”  There was no way to know how much time had passed since the kidneys stopped functioning as they labored to filter the blood of me and my unborn baby.  Had I not gone for that routine exam, I would not be writing this story now.

On July 7, 1975, I was taken – along with my brother Ken – to the operating room early in the morning.  It was going to be a full day of surgery and at that time kidney transplants were still pretty much in their infancy, the first in the US being 1954.  My nephrologist, Dr. Metzger, assured me I was in good hands with the surgical team he had gathered.  Ken and I were wheeled down the hallway, hand in hand, for what I consider to be the greatest sacrifice one human can make for another – the gift of life.

So today, July 7, 2017, I celebrate 42 years of a successful kidney transplant.  Dr. Metzger tells me it is the longest surviving kidney that he has transplanted.  For 36 of those years, I have taken no anti-rejection medication.  I am currently in a research project at Emory University Transplant Center with Dr. Kenneth Newell and have been for over 10 years, the purpose of which is to determine the factors present in my system and others like myself who are “tolerant” patients that are different from others who need to remain on medication.  The more information gathered by this research, the more future transplant patients will benefit from it.  It is my way of paying it forward.

For me, having been given an additional 42 years that I would not have had without this gift is a true miracle.  It is a bonus that I have not had to endure the side effects of the medication.  I honestly give all glory for this miracle to my wonderful Creator who is ever-present in my life.  Each day I wake up, I give thanks for another day alive.  I ask to be a blessing in the world and to shine my light out through loving and lifting others up.  I give gratitude for everyone and everything in my life.  I know none of us is guaranteed one more minute than this very NOW that we are living and I will continue to shine my light for as many of those moments as I have left here on earth.  If you love someone, tell them.  If you are grateful for someone, tell them.  Don’t let another minute pass by without letting others know how important they are to you.  I love you!  Namaste